I’m in a bit of a summer movie blitz here. Okay, actually, I’ve seen a total of 3 new movies this summer, but that’s a lot for me. The blitz started in June, when my chick posse saddled up for a night at the drive-in. We’re lucky in Atlanta that we still have a cool drive-in, The Starlight Six, http://starlightdrivein.com/ on Moreland Avenue.
We’re also lucky that Jinxie, a charter posse member, happens to own a very cool candy apple red ’71 Chevelle Malibu convertible, which we call Big Red. Jinxie’s husband, Michael J. Shyster, attorney at law, took the convertible in lieu of legal fees some years ago, and now Big Red is the star of many local parades–and was also my daughter Katie’s getaway car after her wedding two years ago. So, the posse loaded up Big Red with some dinner and a cooler of adult beverages, and off we went to the Starlight, to see what was billed as a summer chick flick, KNOCKED UP. You apparently don’t see a carload of menopausal white women riding around in a vintage red convertible on Moreland Avenue these days, because we created a bit of a stir, with much horn-honking and throwing down of gang signs–at least, we think they were gang signs. At the Starlight’s ticket stand, the kid who took our money stared longingly at Big Red and said, “Man, this ride is cleaaaaannnnn,” to which Jinx, our resident Junior League reject responded by chirping, “Thanks! My husband just washed it.” KNOCKED UP proved to be a bit, um, crude for us. Especially since we’d wanted to see the movie based on the fact that we are all big Grey’s Anatomy fans, and the star of the movie, Katherine Heigl, plays Izzy on Grey’s. The posse members are not prudes–after all, each of us is raising teenaged boys–but really–we were not prepared to see Izzy engaged in–how shall I put it? Doing it doggy-style? Mercy!
Last night, we went back to the Starlight to see another summer blockbuster, I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY. Really, we wanted to see NO RESERVATIONS, but it apparently hadn’t opened yet. The premise of this little gem is two New York City firefighers pretending to be gay and entering into a domestic partnership arrangement, in order to secure city pension benefits for Chuck–or was it Larry’s? poor motherless children. Adam Sandler is the star, and since he co-wrote and produced the movie–he got to be the hyper-hetero chick magnet, and Kevin James got to be the brunt of all the lame-o fat boy jokes. I didn’t outright loathe Chuck and Larry, but I am puzzled about how this boy’s locker room flick managed to earn $34 million its opening weekend. Or maybe I’m not really puzzled. Chuck and Larry is raking in bajillions because it is a BOY movie. Boy movies are high concept, lowbrow vehicles for stars like Adam Sandler and Will Farrell and that ilk. Despite the fact that it didn’t have a big name boy star, KNOCKED UP, which has already earned $143 million this summer, is, in my opinion, in reality a boy movie too, because boys went to the movie in droves–hoping to see Katherine Heigl’s tatas, and women like the chick posse went because we were hoping for a true chick flick, which it wasn’t. Women’s movies–like, say, SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE, or THE QUEEN, when they are made, which isn’t very often, are critically praised, but you’re not gonna be watching them at the Starlight anytime soon. All of this concerns me, as a writer of women’s fiction, because, let’s face it, the audience for a Diane Keaton movie is the same audience I’m looking for with my books. And more is always better. Which brings me to the third movie I watched this summer.
It’s not officially out until August, but a movie publicist in Atlanta sent me the DVD, to ask if I would give it a blurb. This is what I guess you call a “small indy” movie, but I loved it. RANDY AND THE MOB is about a small-town Southern guy, Randy, who is a loser, but doesn’t know it. Randy is a wannabe big wheel, who gets himself into financial hot water and turns to a loan shark–who turns out to be–you guessed it–a member of the mob. RANDY AND THE MOB is funny in a subversive, charming way. It reminded me a little of a contemporary O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU? I watched it in my living room, with my 20-year-old son Andy. At first, Andy totally didn’t get Randy. After all, there were no car chases, no exposed nipples, no fart jokes, and at no time did Bruce Willis dangle from the wing of an exploding airliner. Still, once he settled in, Andy laughed and giggled right along with me. We even managed to have an interesting conversation about the movie afterwards. I have high hopes for Randy and the Mob. It would be nice to see it unexpectedly take off. It would be even nicer if the people who make movies would make more of them for viewers like me–and the chick posse. And viewers like you, too.